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a heretical form of religious mysticism founded by Miguel de MolinosMolinos, Miguel de
, 1640–1697?, Spanish priest and mystic. He was the founder of quietism, which he adhered to in its most extreme form. From 1669 he lived principally at Rome.
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, a 17th-century Spanish priest. Molinism, or quietism, developed within the Roman Catholic Church in Spain and spread especially to France, where its most influential exponent was Madame GuyonGuyon, Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Motte
, 1648–1717, French mystic and author of writings dealing largely with quietism. Confined by the government (1688) in a convent because of her heretical opinions and her correspondence with Miguel de Molinos, she was released through
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. She preached her doctrines to members of the French aristocracy, winning a convert and friend in Madame de MaintenonMaintenon, Françoise d'Aubigné, marquise de
, 1635–1719, second wife of the French king Louis XIV. Her grandfather was Théodore Agrippa d'Aubigné, the Huguenot hero.
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, Louis XIV's second wife, and an ally in Archbishop FénelonFénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe
, 1651–1715, French theologian and writer, a leader of the quietism heresy, archbishop of Cambrai. As tutor to the duke of Burgundy, he wrote Télémaque
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. Another quietist was Antoinette BourignonBourignon, Antoinette
, 1616–80, Flemish Christian mystic, adherent of quietism. In 1636 she fled from home to avoid a marriage urged by her father, spent a short time in a convent, and was in charge (1653–62) of an orphanage.
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. The essence of quietism is that perfection lies in the complete passivity of the soul before God and the absorption of the individual in the divine love to the point of annihilation not only of will but of all effort or desire for effort. Molinos talked about an entire cessation of self-consciousness, and Madame Guyon maintained that she could not sin, for sin was self, and she had rid herself of self. Molinos and his doctrines were condemned by Pope Innocent XI in 1687. A commission in France found most of Madame Guyon's works intolerable, and in 1699 Pope Innocent XII prohibited the circulation of Fénelon's book, the Maxims of the Saints.


See W. Backhouse and J. Janson, comp., Guide to True Peace … Composed Chiefly of Writings of Fénelon, Guyon, and Molinos (1946).



a religious and ethical teaching that propounds a contemplative mystical attitude toward the world, passivity, tranquility of spirit, complete subordination to the will of god, and indifference toward good and evil, heaven and hell. Quietism emerged at the end of the 17th century within Catholicism; it expressed the rise of moods of opposition to the pope and a hostile attitude toward the Jesuits. The ideas of quietism were developed by the Spanish priest M. de Molinos (1628–96), who published in Rome in 1675 the book A Spiritual Guide. According to the teaching the soul, having accepted all suffering and having renounced the world, plunges fully into god’s love.

The Catholic Church, and especially the Jesuits, reacted strongly to quietism. In 1685, Molinos was imprisoned, and 68 postulates of the teaching were condemned as heresy. Molinos’ ideas were developed by his follower in France, J. de la M. Guyon (1648–1717), who was defended by Bishop F. Fénelon. However, a special church commission headed by J. B. Bossuet condemned quietism as an immoral heretical teaching and brought about Guyon’s imprisonment in the Bastille. Elements of the teaching are also manifested in 18th-century Lutheran pietism.

The term “quietism” has acquired another, more general, meaning as a synonym for passivity, nonresistance, and abstention from any activity. In this meaning many see in it the characteristic peculiarity of many Eastern religions. Lenin, finding elements of quietism in Tolstoyism, sharply criticized attempts at idealizing them (see Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 20, p. 104).


Scharling, C. E. Michael de Molinos: Ein Bild aus der Kirchengeschichte des siebzehnten Jahrhunderts. Gotha, 1855.
Heppe, H. Geschichte der quietistischen Mystik in der katholischen Kirche. Berlin, 1875.



a form of religious mysticism originating in Spain in the late 17th century, requiring withdrawal of the spirit from all human effort and complete passivity to God's will
References in periodicals archive ?
Unfortunately, there is little in this book to alter the opinion of Adolph Harnack, who in his History of Dogma referred to Eastern Orthodoxy as "that quietistic gathering of the cult." By "quietistic" Harnack meant passivity, indifference to the problems of the world, and the absence of social ethics.
The first chapter describes the Quaker renaissance which energized the generally quietistic Quaker community to take a more active role in the world.
We conclude by questioning the cultural assumption that contemplative paths lead to quietistic responses to the world.
But I am more concerned with the quietistic implications of humility.
Thus Professor Stern begins his introductory text--one suitable I would think for all virgins of Hegel--with an introduction that seeks to ameliorate in advance the seemingly perturbing phenomena which impenetrable texts, and multiple interpretations can bring--observing in the field of Politics, for instance, that: 'Left Hegelians (such as Feuerbach, Marx and Engels) saw in Hegel a utopian vision of freedom, community, and the triumph of the human spirit, while right Hegelians saw in Hegel a theocratic defence of the Prussian state, support for the status-quo of absolute monarchy, and a quietistic conservatism' (xi).
There was, for Sontag, a clear and unambiguous distinction between the world and the image-world, the former a realm of action and consequences, the latter a quietistic realm of mere looking.
If Arnold draws on Romantic precursors to underwrite the quietistic politics of this early sonnet, he can also at times be prompted into more radical political gestures that suggest the influence of Shelley rather than Wordsworth.
Only Buddhists support it, favoring its non-competitive, quietistic ethos, and acknowledging that the "Enlightened One" would not necessarily have opposed a "technical solution" to the problems of humankind (258).
Rivkah Shatz Uffenheimer, Hasidism as Mysticism: Quietistic Elements in Eighteenth Century Hasidic Thought, trans.
Thus it is natural for people, including, as Ames points out, "even the most prominent commentators to read Taoism as a passive and quietistic philosophy: 'a Yin thought--system' in which the particular capitulates to the demands of its environment and "flows with the tao" (1989, 138).
This conservative position is challenged in the essays by Cerbone, Tully, and Denis McManus (while Janik comes close to defending it in suggesting that a Wittgensteinian political philosophy would be quietistic).
And there are also a few lines from Hawthorne's Marble Faun, alluding to "those dark caverns into which all men must descend." This finely printed volume, which contains some of the best lines Kees ever wrote, suggests a scrupulous, quietistic bohemianism, the poet and his printer friend together making the beautiful book.